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Death and Testing – The New York Times

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President Trump gave a confrontational interview to Chris Wallace of Fox News yesterday that included numerous untruths about the coronavirus. Trump claimed that the United States had the lowest death rate in the world; that new cases were surging here mostly because of the large number of tests; and that his virus response had saved “millions of lives.”

So I thought it was worth offering a quick overview of the actual situation with the virus, with help from a couple of charts:

The virus has still been deadlier in several European countries than in the U.S., after adjusting for population. But the total death rate in the U.S. is among the worst for any country in the world:

And the U.S. may continue to climb this ranking. Most high-income countries now have a relatively small number of new cases and deaths each day, while the U.S. does not:

The U.S. is conducting a large number of tests — but that isn’t why the virus statistics look so much worse here. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has now conducted more tests per capita than any other country.

That high test rate obviously leads to a greater number of official cases. If some other countries with major outbreaks, like Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria, were conducting more tests, they would likely be reporting many more cases. Some would probably show worse per capita outbreaks than the U.S.

But the U.S. is still an outlier, especially among rich countries. A higher percentage of its tests are coming back positive than in many other countries, and the death toll continues to mount, which are both signs that the main issue in the U.S. is a failure to control the virus.

Related: One sign of Trump’s unsuccessful strategy is that other top Republican officials are increasingly willing to defy him about the virus.

In Europe: A new Times story examines Europe’s early failure to control the virus. And Ruchir Sharma, an investor and contributing Opinion writer, argues that Germany’s success in controlling the virus has made it “the large economy most likely to thrive in the post-pandemic world.”

In the Rio Grande Valley, on Texas’ southern border, more than a third of families live in poverty. Nearly half of the residents have no health insurance, and obesity and heart disease are widespread.

Now coronavirus cases there are surging, threatening to overwhelm hospitals and create a public-health disaster. “Our curve is a straight up trajectory right now,” one hospital official said. “There’s no relief.” A photo essay accompanies our story from the region.

In other virus developments:

  • As companies across China rush to produce personal protective equipment, some are using Uighur labor that puts members of the ethnic minority to work against their will.

  • More than six million people in the U.S. enrolled in food stamps in the first three months of the pandemic, an unprecedented rise.

  • The Canadian government will not allow the Toronto Blue Jays to stage home games when the baseball season starts this week, saying cross-border travel poses a health risk. The team is likely to play at a minor-league stadium in Buffalo instead.


John Roberts solidified his reputation during this past Supreme Court term as an idiosyncratic justice willing to vote with his liberal colleagues on some major issues. But one subject on which he has remained a stalwart conservative is also one that’s likely to matter a great deal in 2020: voting rights.

In its recent term, the Supreme Court issued four rulings to restrict voting rights. All of the rulings were decided quickly, in response to emergency applications asking the justices to take action in pending cases, as The Times’s Adam Liptak explains. Those rulings indicate that the court may choose not to act this fall to make sure people can vote during a pandemic.


Protests against racism and police brutality have endured in Portland, Ore., with peaceful marches during the day and more confrontational, and occasionally violent, demonstrations at night. And the recent deployment of federal officers to quash the protests seems to have had the opposite effect.

Demonstrations over the weekend drew the largest crowds in weeks, uniting a diverse group of activists in outrage. “I wasn’t even paying attention to the protests at all until the feds came in,” said Christopher David, a former Navy civil engineering corps officer.


They survived the Great Depression, a world war and the 2008 financial crisis — but not the pandemic. Small businesses that have stood for a century are shutting down, ending generations of family ownership.

And at big businesses: C.E.O.s of some major companies say they are increasingly worried about a prolonged economic disruption. “I’m less optimistic today than I was 30 days ago,” the chief executive of Marriott International said.


  • A gunman shot and killed the 20-year-old son of a federal judge as he answered the door of the family home in New Jersey yesterday and wounded the judge’s husband. The judge, Esther Salas, was home but was not injured.

  • Roger Stone, the Trump ally whose prison sentence the president commuted, denied he uttered a racial slur during an interview with a Black radio host. The audio suggests otherwise.

  • Trader Joe’s said it would rebrand international food items with names like Trader Ming’s, Trader José and Trader Giotto’s. An online petition had asked the company to remove packaging that reflects “a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.”

  • Lives Lived: Nakotah LaRance’s skill as a hoop dancer — a tradition in some Native American cultures — carried him to world titles, late-night TV, the Brooklyn Ballet and Cirque du Soleil. LaRance died last week at 30.


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Joe Biden’s polling lead has grown large enough that some Democrats are debating whether he should spend resources in traditionally Republican states in an effort to win a landslide victory. Here are the cases that each side is making:

No, don’t you remember 2016? Four years ago, Hillary Clinton campaigned in North Carolina, Texas and other states she didn’t need to win, while paying relatively little attention to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — which she did need. Biden must avoid that same trap, some people argue.

“Lock down the states you MUST have by making sure your operations and ads are funded there for duration. THEN you expand to more ambitious targets,” tweeted David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s former strategist. For now, the Biden campaign is largely taking this path.

Yes, 2020 is a chance for realignment. Trump doesn’t just trail by almost 10 percentage points. He is also facing the prospect of a summer and a fall with a raging pandemic and a deep recession. Given all this, some people are urging Biden to flip states that Democrats have long dreamed of winning — and to help flip the Senate.

Unless the Democrats also win the Senate, they have little chance of passing major legislation. To win the Senate, they will need to win seats in some Republican-leaning states, like North Carolina, Montana, Georgia and Texas.

“When reliable polling has you tied or winning in Texas, you expand the map well beyond the six ‘battleground’ states,” the Democratic strategist Christy Setzer has said. Added Stacey Abrams, the Georgia politician: “The Sun Belt expansion is what will drive the next 30 years of elections.”

Our original recipe for chickpea salad with fresh herbs and scallions says the dish “deserves a spot at your next picnic.” While festive picnics may be hard to come by this summer, don’t let that stop you from making this lighter take on a potato salad. Odds are, it tastes just as good from the couch.


American orchestras remain among the nation’s least racially diverse institutions: Of the 106 full-time players in the New York Philharmonic, only one is Black.

Anthony Tommasini, The Times’s classical music critic, argues that the so-called blind audition — in which musicians try out for an orchestra behind a screen — is impeding progress. How? There is little difference in skill among the top-tier players competing for these jobs, Tommasini argues. Without blind auditions, ensembles would be able to seek out elite musicians of color.


My colleague Sanam Yar recommends tuning into the drama “I May Destroy You”:

Fans of Michaela Coel’s award-winning sitcom “Chewing Gum” — which she wrote and starred in at the age of 28 — already knew she was a singular talent. But her new series, which is airing on HBO in the U.S., cements that status. There are no other shows like “I May Destroy You,” in part because it’s such a specific, personal story, inspired by Coel’s life and her experience with sexual assault.

The series follows a London-based writer and her circle of friends in the aftermath of her assault, and its characters feel exceptionally real. As the show’s writer, co-director and star, Coel displays genius throughout. Some lines of dialogue will catch you off guard and rattle around in your brain for days. And the show’s clever soundtrack feels like its own character.

“I May Destroy You” is a heavy watch, but it also has spots of brightness and beauty. The show gives no easy answers. That’s kind of the point.


  • You can catch Comet NEOWISE — one of the brightest comets in a generation — without a telescope. Here’s how.

  • Artists like Edwin Birdsong and Ballin’ Jack aren’t household names, but their music is instantly recognizable as the samples behind hit pop songs. Listen to these 15 tracks.


Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: One of two planets in the solar system that lacks a moon (five letters).

You can find all of our puzzles here.


Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. The words “rematador,” “cortador,” “apeleador” and “planchador” — all titles for artisan makers of Panama hats — appeared in The Times for the first time today, as noted by the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.

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